Originally launched 11 years ago in 1999, Jones Soda is planning to reintroduce their premium energy drink WhoopAss to the energy drink market. The relaunch will feature a new fruitier flavor, purple colored liquid, and thoroughly updated packaging. No word on whether it arrives in Canada, but the new drink will be available in the U.S. starting in November, and will retail for a discount price point of $2.39.
Quoting Jones Soda CEO Jim Meissner, “WhoopAss is a product with major potential, but it was ahead of its time when it launched in 1999, slipped to the backburner for Jones, and unfortunately stayed there without getting the proper attention and marketing backing it deserves. Earlier in my career I played a key role in bringing a number of top selling energy drinks from initial concept to household name. This is my territory — I know the energy drink space, I know what it takes to be successful, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on WhoopAss when I came to Jones. Right now the product only accounts for a small portion of our total sales, and we aim to gain share points in this category and make WhoopAss a major part of Jones’ beverage portfolio.”
Meissner should also want to mention that WhoopAss is competing in a very crowded and maturing market space with three strong market leaders and numerous smaller energy drink competitors. The market leaders in order of market share and profits are Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar. After those three, the rest of the market shares drop drastically, but do include niche products like Full Throttle, Nos, and Xyience among many others. Each nice energy drink is marketing toward a specific segment – Full Throttle the music scene, Nos the car fanatics, and Xyience targeting the MMA crowd, etc – what will WhoopAss’s target segment be? Apparently the skater, surfer, and MMA fanatic segments. With Xyience already solidly entrenched in the MMA crowd through their UFC sponsorship and product placements, WhoopAss is facing a strong uphill battle to penetrate that segment. The skater and surfer segments may be an easier path to reach profitability and success.
The single serve energy drink market is roughly $25million and growing, but with the category maturing, WhoopAss’s introduction is just fighting for a small share of the market. Is that worth the product introduction, given how much resources the company will be spending, not to mention that they are retailing it as a slightly lower price point ($2.39 compared to average market price of $2.69 in the US)? Meissner says that the product has “slipped to the backburner for Jones, and unfortunately stayed there without getting the proper attention and marketing backing it deserves.” Maybe if WhoopAss was launched 5 years earlier it would have made a bigger impact, but with Jones’ focused on other projects in recent years (BevWire has written about Jones GABA and Jones Soda being listed in Wal-Marts) the market is full of competition and everyone is just competing for a small piece of the market. Unless the drink gains strong celebrity endorsements (ie. Tony Hawk, Shaun White, etc) and lots of news coverage (can be both positive and negative), it will become an also-ran.
Of course, the energy drink has not even been released yet and BevWire is predicting for it to be unsuccessful, so I might be a little harsh. Maybe we will focus on WhoopAss again later and revisit this piece again next year to see how much success WhoopAss has experienced in the energy drink category.